Did you hear about Tesla Motors and their electric vehicle? The pre-orders on their Tesla 3 reached high results just few days ago, arriving to the first pages of online and offline magazines and newspapers.

Surely this happened because of the features of the vehicle, that promise to help drivers saving money and (everyone hopes, at least) to release less smog thanks to the electricity system instead of the fuel one; Tesla project, anyhow, doesn’t end here: the prototype has also automatic driving and, following some leaks, soon will also feature a HUD.

Tha last news, in fact, are about a pretty original hiring: Tesla welcomed in their team as new Software Engineer  Milan Kovac, augmented reality expert coming from Skully, another brand part of the avant-garde technologies field (Skully is one of the augmented reality driving helmets presented at CES 2016). Kovac’s entrance in the Tesla team made everyone guess a possible development of an augmented reality HUD for their new car.

HUD displays are the last trends in the driving world: literally, HUD means heads-up display, a display letting the driver have all the information needed while driving right in front of his eyes, without being forced to take off the eyes from the street. During last year this kind of devices, using augmented reality features, saw an increase: from the information superimposed to the car’s front shield to those inside helmets (for motorbikes or even ski).

In the case of Tesla 3 there seem to be no doubts: the prototype presented to the public, in fact, did not show a traditional instrument panel, but an original one resembling a tablet. Will this be Tesla’s next step to the definitive model?
Reading a tweet that Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, published before the prototype presentation seems it could be, since it says: “Tomorrow is Part 1 of the Model 3 unveil. Part 2, which takes things to another level, will be closer to production.

Project Tango is again on everyone’s mouth: this time, the “mixed reality” project by Google is the main character in the operation by the Italian-American company Fiat Chrysler.

The connection between augmented reality and automotive is not a news: we already saw examples of different uses in this field, from the factory to the driving, from BMW, MINI and Volkswagen to say just only few names. Now it’s the turn of Fiat Chrysler, automotive group producer of the brands FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Fiat Professional, Abarth, Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram Trucks, Mopar and SRT, to launch its project: thanks to a collaboration with Accenture Interactive, the colossus developed an application based on Project Tango that will let the buyers try the car before the purchase, exactly as they would try clothing in a changing room.

One of Tango’s peculiarities, in fact, is the ability of depth and distance sensing in the ambients in which it then inserts augmented reality; there’s more: this ability is not based on GPS, but on a new, exclusive technology that works also indoor.

The app by FCA, through a mobile device, will let the buyer see a full-size car in front of his eyes, so he can “try” it; it will make possible, as well, to see it in different colors and also to check whether or not they will fit in a parking space or the garage.

“Augmented reality is set to transform the way car-buyers choose and configure vehicles through the provision of immersive technology because it provides an enjoyable, delightful experience for customers,” said Luca Mentuccia, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Automotive practice.

FCA’s app has been presented at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and for now it is still a prototype; the launch of the final version is awaited before the end of the year.

Project Tango fa ancora parlare di sé: questa volta il progetto di “mixed reality” firmato Google è stato il cavallo di battaglia di un’operazione dell’italo-americana Fiat Chrysler.

Che realtà aumentata e mondo dell’industria automobilistica vadano a braccetto non è di certo una novità: abbiamo visto esempi di diversi utilizzi della nuova tecnologia, dalla fabbrica al guidatore, da parte di BMW, MINI e Volkswagen per fare solo alcuni nomi. Adesso anche Fiat Chrysler, gruppo automobilistico sotto il quale sono i marchi FIAT, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Fiat Professional, Abarth, Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram Trucks, Mopar e SRT, ha lanciato il suo progetto: grazie a una collaborazione con Accenture Interactive, il colosso ha sviluppato un’applicazione basata su Project Tango che permetterà agli acquirenti di provare la vettura prima dell’acquisto, esattamente come si proverebbe un vestito in un camerino.

Una delle particolarità di Tango, infatti, è quella dell’abilità di mappare grazie a sensori sia la profondità che la distanza degli ambienti fisici nei quali verrà poi inserita la realtà aumentata; ulteriormente, questa capacità non si basa sul GPS ma su una tecnologia che funziona anche negli spazi chiusi.

L’applicazione di FCA permette al possibile acquirente di vedere attraverso un dispositivo mobile l’autovettura di fronte ai propri occhi a grandezza naturale, in modo che possa essere “provata”; renderà inoltre possibile visualizzarla nei diversi colori e addirittura all’interno del proprio garage o nel posteggio sotto casa, in modo da comprendere le effettive misure prima dell’acquisto.

La realtà aumentata è destinata a trasformare il modo in cui gli acquirenti di autovetture scelgono e configurano i veicoli attraverso l’utilizzo di tecnologie immersive, perché queste forniscono un’esperienza gradevole, deliziosa per il cliente” ha dichiarato Luca Mentuccia, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s Automotive practice.

L’app di FCA è stata presentata al Mobile World Congress di Barcellona ed è al momento ancora allo stadio di prototipo; il lancio della versione definitiva è atteso entro la fine dell’anno.

Excellent period for German automotive market and its embarking in augmented reality: after Volkswagen, in fact, it’s the turn of the auto component manufacturer Bosch.

While Volkswagen few weeks ago started its experiment with smart glasses in its Wolfsburg branch (with big hopes to make them soon 100% operative), just few days ago came out the news of the acquisition of a stake in the augmented reality startup Reflekt by Bosch. Bosch itself published the news.

The world of automotive and the augmented reality one seems to go together thanks to the big advantages that this new technology can bring inside the production factories: thanks to smart headsets, the workers have the possibility to see production and assembling instructions directly in front of their eyes, remaining at the same time with hands free from devices or manuals.

Hans-Peter Meyen, Bosch spokeperson, thinks exactly this: “In the future, augmented reality applications will be used in many areas of our lives. In the industrial sector and the automotive aftermarket, AR applications will save time and reduce costs”.

The pact between Bosch and Reflekt is not completely unexpected: the two companies during last two years already experimented a winning partnership, that involved the introduction of augmented reality in the development of production, service, training and marketing applications inside Bosch’s productions; Wolfgang Stelzle, Reflekt’s CEO, says about this: “We are convinced our long-term partnership with Bosch will be strengthened by this investment. The reputation and market position of Bosch will accelerate our international expansion and product development.”

After the emission crisis Volkswagen is back in the news, but this time for other (and luckily better) motivations: the German automotive colossus, in fact, reached the first pages of online and offline press in the hi-tech field thanks to the introduction of new augmented reality smart glasses in its Wolfsburg factory.

The benefits of the headsets’ use in production chains aren’t a mystery anymore: the amount of important information that this system can give to the workers, added to the comfort of leaving their hands free, is transforming the use of new devices in a trend.

These are among the motivations that drove Volkswagen too in considering smart glasses as a solution;  consequently they started tests (at the moment active on a limited group of 30 workers) related to their benefits and appreciation, preliminary to the potential adoption in the rest of the plants.

As we can read on the article published on the company’s official site, the benefits of 3D smart glasses are evident: the workers automatically receive all the information they need, such as storage locations or part numbers directly in their field of vision, and a camera in the glasses is also a barcode reader, showing the right and wrong ones, avoiding in advance a great number of mistakes. Thanks to the voice and touch controls, also, the workers’ hands are free.

Digitalization is becoming increasingly important in production. The 3D smart glasses take cooperation between humans and systems to a new level”, said Reinhard de Vries, Head of Plant Logistics at Wolfsburg.

For now the use of smart glasses (that, judging from the first pictures, remind closely Google Glass) is voluntary: the interested workers receive the device and are gradually being introduced to the new technology. Volkswagen declared also that, since of the current positive experiences, other departments, plants and brands also plan to use the glasses.

Microsoft HoloLens enters Volvo showrooms

During last times, automotive companies seems really unchained when it’s about augmented reality: during last month only, we talked about Honda’s vehicles/prototypes and Hyundai’s owner’s manual, and today we report the news of the collaboration between Volvo and Microsoft.

The two companies are working on a project that engages them both, since the objective is to insert Microsoft’s famous headset, HoloLens, inside Volvo’s showrooms.

The first demonstration with a prototype took place in Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, where Volvo presented their new S90 mid-size luxury sedan: with the help of augmented reality the automotive company was able to show a full-size three- dimensional holograms of the car itself and cross-sections of its parts, as well as a holographic test-drive demonstration of the semi-autonomous driving system and its safety features.

To do so, Microsoft converted a large room in its headquarters into a mock Volvo showroom; inside the place, the viewers were walked around by an hologram explaining the designers’ choices, while another hologram was making possible to choose among the car features and colors. The visitors were able to choose the favorite features and to view the custom car in front of their eyes. This makes possible to see the vehicle even before it is produced.

The presentation of the product and the choice of colors are just only two little pieces of what augmented reality can do: in fact, other than being a spectacular and innovative way to show the products, it is pretty useful to point out some features that would be difficult to show either way: it is an example the automatic stopping for collision avoidance, new function of the vehicle, hard to demonstrate in a real-life test drive.

Digital owner’s manuals are pretty common these days, but how many augmented reality ones you can list? Difficult question, isn’t it? In few time the answer will be easier to give thanks to the South Korean automotive company Hyundai, that soon will be the first releasing a tool like this.

The company’s project is to release in 2015 the app Hyundai Virtual Guide, technologic version of the classic paper owner’s manual that, through a smartphone or a tablet and augmented reality, will let the drivers learn more on features, maintenance and repairs of their vehicle.

For the creation of this app, Hyundai followed the answers that their clients gave to some surveys to determine which parts and features on a vehicle were most confusing or difficult to understand and built the app around them; inside Virtual Guide there will be also 82 how-to videos, six 3D overlay images that appear once users scan areas of their vehicle like the engine bay and more than 50 informational guides.

Among these, the app will be able to identify and provide information about the air filter, smart cruise control, Bluetooth phone pairing, warning indicators, clock, engine oil, brake fluid, fuse box and smart trunk.

“The Virtual Guide is aimed at educating our owners on how to use the functions and features of their vehicle,” said Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, customer satisfaction, Hyundai Motor America. “We modernized the idea of an owner’s manual to provide the highest-quality user experience for the growing population of tech savvy consumers.”

Hyundai Virtual Guide will be at first compatible with Hyundai Sonata 2015, recognizing more than 45 major features of this model, but it will cover other vehicles in the future.

Do you remember Toyota Camatte? It seems that Japanese are pretty ahead when we talk about vehicles and augmented reality.

Once again we are in front of experimental projects; if Camatte was an hybrid between a true car and a toy, the two vehicles we will be talking about today, Honda Wander Stand and Wander Walker, have been projected for driving on sideways and crowded ambients.

These two concept cars will be presented at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015 and surely they will leave many people amazed, thanks also to the avant-garde technologies they use. Let’s see them closer:

the bigger vehicle, called Honda Wander Stand, is a two-seats mini-car with a roof and four wheels; it seems to have also sliding doors on the sides. Instead of having a steering wheel, it has a joystick; it features a touch screen with a control panel that synchronize with our smartphone, showing messages and making it possible to accept calls while driving.

The second vehicle, Honda Wander Walker, reminds a city bike, but has four wheels and the pair in front is especially equipped to turn at extreme angles, reaching 90°. It has only one seat, no roof and a frontal screen similar to the other car’s one, with smartphone synchronization included.

Among the features of these two vehicles, there is of course also augmented reality: both cars have a 3D images and data system superimposed to reality; in particular, the Wander Stand has it in the windshield.

From the first released pictures, we can see on the screens some 3D images, the message and call icons and a number beside a search icon, probably indicating the distance until reaching a place.

Do you remember our post about BMW and augmented reality? It dates back to February and talks of the headset on which the famous automotive company was working to give the drivers a unique experience thanks to augmented reality.

Since the success of the initiative, the German company continued its research in that direction, until being the first creating a Head-Up Display, a screen that can be inserted in the front part of the car so it can be always in the front of the driver’s eyes, who will not be forced to look down to read the useful information, limiting the risk of distractions and accidents.

As we could easily imagine from these first step towards augmented reality, now the moment of the direct integration of this technology with the car and its accessories has come: just few days ago, the automotive company announced BMW5 Series, expected in 2017, that will have an operative system that will join the advantages of Head-Up Display with the marvels of augmented reality. In fact, through the “Business Professional” browser, the screen will not be anymore just a way to make the driving more comfortable, but also to project in front of the driver useful information.

With the new augmented reality system, the data will be displayed directly on the windshield of the car: it will be possible to have information on speed, distance, obstacles and people on the road, directions and all the useful data you can think of.

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This is not the only news that BMW is preparing for us: the company seems determined to surprise us with another incredible innovation, the autonomous driving system, that will reach a maximum of 80 km/h and will help drivers during parking and changing lanes too.

We will talk you about this again when BMW will show officially to the public these news: BMW 5 Series’ launch is expected for the second half of 2016.

From the 19th to the 21st of June was the 2015 Tokyo Toy Show, and there were also some projects dedicated to augmented reality; the Toyota Camatte particularly stood out.

For a so innovative project, it was just matter of time before the use of one of the most avantgarde technologies, augmented reality; in fact from this Toy Show edition, Toyota thought to an easier and more spectacular way to customize the Camatte: the first thing to do is to sit in the car and take a picture, then, through the Camatte Vision app and a tablet, the kids can chose the look of the car, mixing and matching 13 types of body and 12 colors and also to see a rendering of their customized car run on a (true) miniature course with their family onboard!

The project Camatte was launched in 2012 to interest the kids to the automotive world, getting them used to driving and showing them the joy of owning a car. The car company, so, created a little car, complete in every part and fully working, that can be drove by kids with the help of the parents and also easily customizable on the basis of the children’s imagination. So green lights to pink cars, hot dog trucks and purple fire engines!

The actual version of Camatte is called Hajime, a word that means “beginning”, but it’s not really the first one: from 2012 Toyota presented six other models (Sora, Daichi, Takumi, 57s and 57s Sports), all working like true cars. At this Tokyo Toy Show it wasn’t possible to drive the model, but the families had the possibility to sit inside to take the picture to modify with the app.

The name of the car and the project was “Camatte” not just without reason but because this word in japanese means “care” and it’s intended as “taking care of others” and, of course, “taking care of the car”.